Technology

Three best practices to maintain food quality when operating multiple locations

Photograph: MarginEdge

Ask any seasoned restaurateur and they'll agree that consistency in food quality directly impacts guest experience. Studies have shown that food quality is a key area that affects customer satisfaction, bolsters the restaurant's reputation, contributes to the success of franchised establishments andincreases the likelihood of repeat visits. So it's no surprise that maintaining consistent food quality is not just important, but essential for multi-unit restaurants.

But where should operators focus their efforts to get the biggest return on their investment (ROI)? Food quality consistency mostly comes down to three variables: product quality, staff training and recipe consistency. Keep reading to learn how these factors play into operations and how leveraging technology provides the best and most consistent ROI for food quality.

1. Ensuring superior product quality

The first step to ensuring food quality is sourcing ingredients wisely. What works best for individual restaurants depends on the type of restaurant and how often the menu is updated.

Fast casual multi-unit restaurants—think pizza joints—are likely to have fewer and more conventional ingredients. Broadliners are the best bet for consistency and availability and often offer varied qualities of ingredients because they cater to a broad customer base. It's worth spending more on top-notch ingredients to keep food tasting great.

Full service and fine dining restaurants often have more complex dishes and are more likely to be impacted by vendor inconsistency, so it's a good idea to work with vendors to plan out seasonal menu changes based on what will be readily available.

If certain dishes are consistently being 86'd, it might be time to perform a menu performance analysis and reassess their spots on the menu, as out-of-stocks can negatively impact guest experiences.

Aside from vendors, performing routine inventory checks and ensuring that backstocks stay organized first in, first out (FIFO) is low-hanging fruit when it comes to maintaining consistent food quality. A restaurant management system (RMS) can help manage inventory and ordering all in one place, giving a holistic view of food usage trends.

2. Creating consistent staff training

Even if a manager or owner is the one ultimately calling the shots, a restaurant's staff plays a vital role in food quality and consistency, which all comes down to effective training. No two staff members will join an operation with the same experience, so even if everyone on the line has 10 years of experience, they still need to receive consistent training on menu and prep processes.

Some training best practices include using a standardized training manual, ongoing continuous training, and consistent recipes across locations.

3. Centralizing recipe management

The easiest way to manage recipes for a multi-unit operation is to use a digitized RMS solution. Updates can be made in one central place and are automatically pushed to all units, so there is no need to worry about stores not getting the memo.

An RMS can also incorporate photos and videos into digital recipe books to demonstrate each dish's correct technique and plating. This helps alleviate staffing constraints because it doesn't require a manager or an experienced staff member to spend their time in one-on-one training.

The bottom line

Maintaining food quality across multiple units can feel like a daunting task, but leveraging a robust RMS such as MarginEdge can make things easier and ensure multi-unit restaurant operations not only meet but exceed guest expectations with every plate served.

Connect with MarginEdge today to discover how to enhance the consistency and quality of multi-unit operations.

This post is sponsored by MarginEdge

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